SBMA eyes wind farm at Redondo Peninsula
SUBIC BAY FREE PORT — Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are urging investors to venture into the operation of wind-turbine facilities in this free port, saying the development of renewable-energy sources in the area would further improve Subic’s competitiveness.
SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga said a suitable location for a wind farm has been identified at the Redondo Peninsula in this free port, where the Korean shipbuilder Hanjin has also established its $1.7-billion shipyard.
He added that a group of Chinese investors visited Subic last week to express interest on building a wind-power facility.
The foreign investors were accompanied in Subic by Charles Chen from the Manila-based PRA Marketing Services Corp., as well as officials of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC).
“Hopefully, we could develop Subic’s Redondo Peninsula as a source of alternative and renewable energy that we can even feed to the Luzon energy-supply grid,” Salonga said.
“[Subic has] been a net power consumer for too long, so isn’t it nice if we become a power producer for a change?” he added.
The Redondo Peninsula, which is composed of a chain of mountains that branch off from the backbone of the Zambales mountain ranges, faces the South China Sea and, hence, is expected to provide a good wind harvest.
“The wind blows over the peninsula all year round,” Salonga said. “And because the Subic free port has its own power generating system, it will be easy to connect the wind power system to the grid,” he also said.
The proposed wind farm, Salonga said, would not only be a flagship project in the use of environment-friendly technology. On a practical note, it may also provide solution to the SBMA’s quest for a more abundant, but cheaper-energy supply.
In 2008 the SBMA has announced plans by a consortium led by the state-owned Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. to construct at the Redondo area a coal-fired power plant at a cost of $300 million.
The project was shelved last year, however, on account of the global recession.
The proposed 300-MW plant would have generated almost thrice the power output of the existing 108-megawatt Subic II, a bunker fuel-fired diesel-generator power- station built by the US Navy when Subic was still an American military base and now operated by the Subic Power Corp.
According to Subic Enerzone Corp., operator of the power distribution system in the Subic Bay Free Port, power consumption in its Subic franchise area has been increasing over the past few years, with about 18 million kilowatt-hours consumed each month.
Salonga said officials of the SBMA are excited about the potential of a wind farm at the Redondo Peninsula and have asked interested investors to make a detailed study of the project so that it could be ascertained if Subic would be a feasible project site.
“Should Subic produce excess energy from wind power, the surplus could also benefit communities near the Subic free port,” he added.
Salonga said the Chinese company would have to conduct a one-year detailed study of wind velocity and volume in the area.
“Experts would also have to study wind fluctuations as information like this would be important in determining the size of the blades [for the windmills],” he said.